The vent effect in instant ear tips and its impact on the fitting of modern hearing aids
Keywords:instant tips, vent effect, real ear ocluded response, oclusion ratings
Today, approximately 70-80% of hearing aid fittings are made with instant ear tips. This may be due to ease of fit, improved physical comfort and the reduction in occlusion compared to custom earmolds. These tips can be completely open, vented, or closed. The acoustic properties of the ear tip depend on its type, size and the fit to the individual ear canal. Depending on the resulting real ear occluded gain (REOG) and vent effect (VE), the sound quality and aided benefit provided by the hearing aid may vary among individuals fitted with the same ear tip type. This study explored five Widex instant ear tips both in relation to REOG and VE using real ear measurements on 60 ears and in relation to subjective occlusion ratings. The results showed a large variation in REOG and VE both between ear tips and across subjects within the same ear tip type, and a high correlation between VE and perceived occlusion. These results imply that the acoustics of instant tips need to be assessed and considered as part of the hearing aid fitting process to ensure that fitting targets are matched.
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